Saving Mr. Banks
Two-time Academy Award®–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks top-line Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” inspired by the extraordinary, untold back-story of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen.
When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation.
For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp.
It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.
Tom Hanks loses himself in the role of Walt Disney and Emma Thompson is equally superb as P.L. (Pam) Travers. The settings and clothes take you back to the sixties when Walt was determined to get the book rights from Travers to make “Mary Poppins”. To say Travers is difficult to work with is like saying Mickey Mouse has big ears! However, Disney is determined to learn why she is so protective over her creation and why she dictates certain restrictions be in the contract. In fact, she insists that the conversations be tape recorded. An interesting part of the film takes place during the credits when the voice of the real Travers is heard coming from the old recorder it was taped on. The movie features flashbacks of young Travers and her life in Australia circa 1906 and beyond. She adored her father (played by Colin Farrell in the movie and he turns in a strong performance) and several scenes of their bonding moments are included in the picture.
The movie features humor, terrific music, and wonderful performances not to mention a fabulous story. We also learn more about Mr. Walt Disney himself as well as a secret about his father. A few clips from “Mary Poppins” are featured in the film.
Unfortunately, the film is blemished by a single blasphemy which prevents us from awarding it the Dove Seal .